It’s no longer A, B, C, people. Remember we used to be taught to check/open airway first (A), then feel/look for breathing (B), and lastly start compressions (C)? Well, now the order is C, A, B.
I remember seeing this reported on CNN or BBC news some years ago but I haven’t taken a course since, until just last month, so there you go. The theory is that the person may have oxygenated blood somewhere in their system, so, if you do compressions first, you may be saving precious seconds by getting that already-oxygenated blood to their various organs. Cool, huh?
A friend is a qualified swimming coach for all ages and she needed to update her CPR certification, luckily for me, so she organised an instructor from St. John’s Ambulance (http://www.stjohn.org.za/) to come out and hold a course. She just had to enroll ten or more people (mainly moms of her swimming students) and they were happy to help. We just used our church hall – plenty of chairs and room – very handy.
This is what we were taught:-
1. Tap the persons shoulders firmly and call their name (if you know it). A good tip is to cross your arms so that if the person suddenly regains consciousness and lashes out while you are trying to rouse them, you are better protected.
2. If no response, physically bend down so you can see if their chest is rising and falling. Personally, I would feel for a neck pulse at the same time, if possible, but we were not instructed to do this.
3. Keeping your arms straight, place one hand over the other in the centre of his/her chest (on the sternum, not below) and do 30 fast compressions, aiming to press as deeply as a quarter-to-a-half of the persons chest depth. Speed of compression = 30 compressions should take about 17 seconds, so they’re pretty quick (and tiring if you have to do it for a long time!).
4. Pull the persons chin down to and check to see if you anything is in their mouth. If you can see something, hook your finger between the lip and front teeth, sweep to back of cheek then through the mouth and out the other side. They go between the lip and teeth to start off with, simply to avoid getting bitten…
5. Pull chin forward to open airway and, using a plastic shield (in these days of TB and HIV) breathe two times, blowing in enough air to raise the persons chest. Let the air flow out then complete another 30 chest compressions.
If there is blood or fluids in their mouth, don’t do the breathing because you may blow the liquid into their lungs. But DO do the chest compressions because you might still save their life.
*Disclaimer – This is as I recall the course; not a course in itself!